I want to easily create live usb installation USBs for testing purposes, for installing various distros in VM and to have at hand an installation device in case I need to reinstall my system.

But most tutorials direct me to applications that create Linux installation usbs in Windows, while I want to do it in Ubuntu. (Xubuntu)

I was expecting to find a big old question on this on askubuntu to which this one should be a duplicate, but I seem to miss it.

The only tool I used in Ubuntu is Unetbootin.

Are there others? - in case something goes wrong and I might need an alternative.


Many live CD images are actually hybrid CD/USB images, so they can be copied directly to either a CD or USB drive with dd and will work either way. This is true of all Ubuntu and Debian official live CD images over the last few years, and may be true of other distros.

dd if=cdimage.iso of=/dev/xxx

Where /dev/xxx is the USB drive.

In cases where that doesn't work because the image is not a hybrid CD/USB image, unetbootin is the best way I can think of.


You can either use Startup Disk Creator or MultiSystem, a tool which has the advantage of being able to put multiple distros onto a single USB stick.

Follow these links to install and use MultiSystem:

http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/Blogs/Productivity-Sauce/Create-a-Multi-boot-USB-Stick-with-MultiSystem ,

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/multiboot-create-a-multiboot-usb-from-linux/ .

If you don't have startup disk creator in your applications, install it by sudo apt-get install usb-creator-gtk.

I prefer these tools than Unetbootin for creating a live USB.


There are many tools for this, my favorite is Etcher. Its just so simple to use and the UI is beautiful. Also works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux distros. Available at http://etcher.io

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  • 1
    +1 for mentioning it. I agree it looks sleek and is easy to use. But can it also format the drive before installing the iso on it - and especially one that already has a Linux iso on it? - so that a separate tool is not needed?
    – user47206
    Jun 26 '18 at 9:37
  • 1
    Yes Etcher does all that. It's literary a 3 clicks process.
    – Dawoodjee
    Jun 26 '18 at 11:07
  • what it cannot do is simply format a stick and leave it empty I guess, but that is beyond the scope of the question. being an appimage is also a great advantage as it can be used on any system (as dependencies are bundled into it)
    – user47206
    Jun 26 '18 at 18:43

A very efficient and easy to use tool is the one from Linux Mint, which can still has a PPA for older Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tsvetko.tsvetkov/trusty-backports


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tsvetko.tsvetkov/xenial-backports
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mintstick

Although a single application, it is used as two separate launchers for the two separate actions: format (USB Image Formatter) and installation (USB Image Writer).

enter image description here

In order to install it in Ubuntu 18.04:

until a newer version is launched along with a Ubuntu 18.04-based Linux Mint, download latest version 1.3.8 from here.

Open a terminal at the location of the download and do

sudo dpkg -i mintstick_1.3.8_all.deb

Install the missing dependencies.

If needed do

sudo apt --fix-broken install

then do again sudo dpkg -i mintstick_1.3.8_all.deb.

There is also gnome-multi-writer.

sudo apt install gnome-multi-writer

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It is able to format a stick before writing, but cannot simply format (without writing anything).

For the latter purpose, one can use "Disks" (gnome-disk-utility), which is a bit quicker than Gparted or the KDE Partition Manager.

sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility

If the usb stick already contains a live Linux, it is a bit trickier: first, select "Format Disk" from the top right corner (NOT "Format partition" ),

enter image description here

then select "Partitioning: No partitioning".

And only then select Additional partitioning options - "Format partition" , FAT, Next, Format.

enter image description here

enter image description here

"Disks" (gnome-disk-utility) can also write an iso to the usb: after having formatted the usb as said above: go to Additional partitioning options as before, and select "Restore partition image", then select the Linux iso.


There is an application called usb-disk-creator available via official repositories. Install via

sudo apt install usb-creator-gtk


sudo apt install usb-creator-kde

depending on which you prefer (or which Desktop Environment you are running)

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